...For months now the vampire had been hiding away his existence in the comfort of the Underground. While tending to his steadily growing condition, he spent his time learning the numerous tunnel routes to and from various locations of interest, earning a few friends along the way and even more enemies. His true presence did not go unnoticed for long. Rumors soon spread quickly among its inhabitants and the vampire was soon forced to take notice. Most merely passed him by without any recognition at all, the young and unknowing. The trusted few, exchanged nods of respect, while others glares of pure hatred. His presence was growing unwelcome in the Underground but where else could he go. His home in the palace was gone...destroyed. His only possessions were the clothes he wore and the items he carried with him. Where would he go now? There was no where else he could really call home anymore. It had been about a month since he had last went topside, to the place he used to call home and the longing was growing stronger each night he stayed below. Thoughts, feelings and visions plagued him during his daylight hours, peace only felt at night when the voices slept. The desire overwhelmed him and he ventured out to the Palace gardens. The once beautiful garden full of life and color now lay dead and dark against the shadow of the ruined Palace...
Striker slowly sat down on the edge of the broken fountain in the center of the garden, his hands pushing back the hood of his cloak, the last of his invisibility fading. His fingers trailed gently along the shallow water tracing the moon's reflection upon the surface, his other hand placed firmly over his stomach as he shut out more of the pain his body started to feel again.
Footsteps crunched on broken stone drawing the vampire's attention to the man that approached him. The Tava Uzian soldier in Rynthian Scorpion armor stands four inches of six feet and a nautical mile away from anyone the vampire would trifle with. His face is the sharp hollow of highland breed, Elven only in facial structure; they were built for life in the hard trees. Muscled and toned like a piano chord, nothing else but his cold hard stare would tell the vampire more about how official their meeting was. “It is about time you surfaced. You had us worried with your recent actions. Need I remind you that as a representative of Rynth, you are duly obligated to act in a way to prevent any danger to the sovereign nation you owe allegiance to?" The hardness in the man’s face twitched for a moment.
Striker rolled his eyes, "Oh save the speech. I've heard it all before."
“The Queen and...” he cleared his throat, “the Queen and I share a concern for this situation and are very grateful for the services you have provided us. Your Queen has need of your services once more and eagerly awaits your arrival in Rynth.”
"Oh I know she does," Striker replied with a laugh, "but my give a fuck must be broken tonight. Try again...never." He stood slowly from the fountain, his body rocking back and forth slightly before he steadied himself, his hands folding across his stomach as he walked slowly away from the man. "She has given me nothing in return for my services so far but death and misery."
The vampire's response was expected, although not in the context in which it was given. The soldier sighed softly watching the vampire's painful retreat but made no effort to advance, "So you are denying your services to your Queen?"
"Yep," Striker replied with a dismissive wave of his hand as he continue walking, his arms going back to his stomach, "now be a good little soldier and tell the bitch to go fuck herself. I'm not going to risk the life I have in exchange for an empty promise. I'm not doing any more services for her. The bleeders are on their own. They will get no help from me."
"There will be no risk for you, you know those tunnels better than anyone and the Queen wishes to keep you around so your safety will be guaranteed, we will see to that. Now you need to return to Rynth with me so we can get you well again. There is much we need to do."
Striker stopped turning around to face the man, "I said no! You honestly expect me to put my trust in Seyatte's word? Say I do, what do I get out of it? I help the pirate and then he turns on me just like she did? That is the outcome I see. Nothing good comes from helping a filthy pirate. Nothing at all. The only good pirate is a dead pirate. They are all the same. A pirate is a pirate."
"Then the same could be said for all vampires as well if your logic holds truth."
Striker shrugged, "Every vampire that I have met has deserved exactly what they have got from me, a slow painful death. I have no problem at all killing my own kind."
"And it is for that very reason that the Queen seeks your help. You have the experience, you have the knowledge and you have the desire. The Queen does not want to stop your vengeance, she is fueling it. She is allowing you a chance to-.
"Go out in a blaze of glory?" Striker shook his head, "Help a pathetic group of humans kill vampires? I don't even know these bleeders and I doubt they would even know me. But I'm sure they will gladly repay my efforts with a big fuck you as they stake me in the back. I would be just another vampire to them, so what's to keep them from really killing me as well? Seyatte's word that I can't be harmed by them? Her words are as empty as her promises. I don't trust humans, I don't trust other vampires, and I especially don't trust pirates that steal from me. Humans are not my traveling companions and especially not my allies. There is an overabundance of them in this world which makes them good for two things, a source of food and pleasure, that is all." Striker turned back around walking away from the man, "If you couldn't tell...my walking away from you...is me quitting. I'm done being used by people."
"You can not quit. As an Ambassador of Rynth you are-"
Striker stopped in place turning around to face the man, "I don't fucking care! Seyatte thought she had no more use for me so she had me killed! Now that she realizes she needs me again she resurrects me and worries about my well-being!? You can tell her that I am dealing with my condition perfectly fine where I am."
"Your anger is justified but rest assured that the Queen did it for your own protection. You were given a death that only the Queen could release you from. You were not meant to partake in her blood, that was a foolish move on your part. But once you have returned to Rynth the Queen will be more than willing to help you recover your strength from it and give you what you need to survive in the tunnels."
Striker glared at the man, "If she wants me that badly then she can come for me her own fucking self. I am going no where with you."
"The Queen has felt you calling and is fully aware of your feelings but she has matters to attend to that need her presence there. If she could come to you she would. Since the Queen is otherwise engaged I have offered to go in her stead."
"She felt me calling? That's impossible, we aren't bonded. I drank from her but she never drank from me so we can't be..." Striker paused and nodded slowly, "...the alchemist. I never gave her any of my blood so she got it from the alchemist. Clever. Well I hope she enjoys my emotions. It's the only thing she's gonna get from me."
The soldier nodded, "Your emotions are affecting the Queen and we are growing concerned."
"Shouldn't you be more concerned about your own well-being right now?" Striker asked backing away from him.
"With all due respect, in your current condition you are not a threat to me. You can hardly stand on your own let alone fight. I have no fear of you."
Striker raised a brow at the man, "Oh really now?"
"Yes, you would of killed me already if you were going to or even able to, but instead you are retreating."
Striker narrowed his eyes at the man, his arms gripping tighter to his stomach as it started to burn more, his ability to suppress the pain nearing it's limit. "Even a wounded animal will lash out if cornered. Don't for an instant mistake my lack of interest as weakness. Killing you would only be a waste of my time and energy, neither of which I care to waste on the likes of you. Just let me rest in peace for once."
"I can not do that." The soldier replied walking toward the vampire. "The Queen has given me specific orders to bring you back to Rynth with me, either on your own accord or by force if necessary."
Striker growled softly his patience with the man growing thin, his voice rising in volume as his anger increased, "Maybe you didn't hear me the first time. I said I am done helping her! I have kept my end of the deal now it's time she kept hers. Every desire that she had, I have more than fulfilled. She wanted me to get close to the Emperor, I did. She wanted me to gain his trust, his siring, his love, I did all that. She wanted me to help her destroy everything he held dear. I did that too at the cost of my own life. By right his crown should of went to me! I am his childe! But instead a filthy pirate has laid claim to it while I laid sleeping because of what she had Malox do to me! How dare she expect me to help the very pirate that stole from me! He can die for all I care!"
The soldier kept advancing closing the gap between the two, "Keep your voice down."
Striker glared at the soldier, "No! I'm tired of being fucked over by her. If all she wants is for me to be healthy so she can use me for another task, then she is wasting her fucking time! I can still taste her vile venom upon my lips. Every time I even try and feed I can feel the burning pain in my stomach from her poisonous blood contaminating it. I can't keep any blood down, human or animal, without it hurting me. Every drop I drink turns to poison sooner or later so unless she has a solution I'm gonna starve to death. So excuse me for not caring about her fucking problems!"
"If what you say is indeed true then your condition is deteriorating too rapidly to wait any longer. The poison has grown too powerful now. You have no choice, you will come with me, one way or the other." The soldier now advanced on the vampire drawing a stake from the satchel at his hip. "Your persistent stubbornness will not delay your return to your Queen."
"I would rather be stubborn than an arrogant pig like you!" Striker yelled dropping down to his knees, his hands moving instantly to his stomach as his ability to numb the pain his body felt finally reached its limit.
The soldier's body shifted at the vampire's words dropping down to all fours, a swine wrapped in crimson and black armor. A series of squeals sounded from the creature as it backed away from the vampire.
Striker growled in pain and frustration at his inadvertently used projection power, "Oh come on!" His hands went to his temples as he leaned back on his heels, his nose starting to bleed at the use of his unstable powers in his weakened state. He closed his eyes breathing in deeply as he tried to calm himself as his head started to pound. The frightened squeals of the pig did not help matters any and instead only made it worse. "Will you shut up," he screamed opening his eyes, a telekinetic energy blast emitting from his palms as he opened up his hands toward the pig.
A sharp squeal followed a sickening thud as the pig flew through the air and crashed into the crumbling pillar beside what remained of the palace steps, its body turning back human as it rolled down the steps to rest at the bottom, its body broken in two.
Getting to his feet Striker stumbled through the garden making his way to the steps almost collapsing as he sat down on them beside the body of the soldier. He pushed the sleeves of his shirt back exposing the black veins running up the length of his arms. His hands gripped tightly around his daggers as he pulled them from his boots. Gritting his teeth he made a slit from his elbow to his wrist along both his arms, black blood flowing down onto the steps beside him.
...This was his only sense of peace from the torment his body felt, his means of survival now. Feed to keep the hunger at bay and then bleed himself to live. A never ending process...
Striker stabbed his daggers through his arms to keep the wounds open as much as possible, the tainted blood flowing out of his body to pool under his extended arms. He groaned softly leaning back against the steps, his gaze turning to the sky as the blood boiled and hissed as it flowed from him.
...He used to miss being human once, a long time ago. But the longer he remained a vampire the more fleeting that memory became to him. Over the years he grew to like being a vampire and accepted it. With his death came power, with power came fear and respect. But now, at this moment, he couldn't think of anything more miserable on Kaia than being a vampire who's blood was fighting to destroy him...
...Even the thought of being human again didn't seem as miserable to him anymore. He could actually enjoy feeling the warmth of the sun again. He would be able to stay out in the sun all day long if he wanted to without feeling weakened from it. He could even get his tan back. He could also enjoy his favorite foods again; roast swan, shrimp bisque, chicken and rice potage, spiced quince butter cake, and even plums without it making him ill. So many centuries had pasted since he last enjoyed them, he could hardly remember now the taste of the foods he used to love back home. It would be nice to trade his diet of blood in for one of them. Although, with being human, it meant he would be weaker, more fragile. He would have to worry about illness and disease again, even injuries could turn fatal. He would still have to watch friends and loved ones die, only difference was he would be forced to suffer through the heartache of their loss. No more numbing the pain, no more shutting out the emotions he didn't want to feel anymore. He wouldn't be able to turn his humanity, his emotions, off and on at will like he could now. He liked being able to feel if he felt the need, pick and chose what to feel,
Acceptance Boredom Ecstacy Frustration Horror Loneliness Rage
Affection Compassion Empathy Gratitude Hostility Love Regret
Aggression Confusion Envy Grief Homesickness Paranoia Remorse
Ambivalence Contempt Embarrassment Guilt Hunger Pity Shame
Apathy Depression Euphoria Hatred Hysteria Pleasure Suffering
Anxiety Doubt Forgiveness Hope Interest Pride Sympathy
Being forced to feel was not something he really wanted to do anymore...
The thought of being human again quickly left him, his eyes closing slowly, the sensation of the burning blood leaving his body a relaxing feeling, almost peaceful even. A feeling that he didn't want to end for fear that it would possibly never be felt again.
...Peaceful? What a foreign thought. Peace coming from one that loved causing death and destruction. He took pleasure in brutally killing his victims, he was not a peaceful person by any means. He hated humanity. He hated the whole damn human race. But he did love seeing the fear in their eyes when they saw him coming, hearing their screams as he ripped their bodies apart with his bare hands. Everyone wanted to have him as an ally, no one wanted him as their foe. He destroyed everything in his path. No one could stand in his way, he was an unstoppable killing force. But that was all back in the good old days, back home. Now things were different, he had a conscience again, one that sought to annoy him to the point of no end...
He sighed softly opening his eyes to gaze at the stars fading away overhead as the sky began to get lighter, his body remaining resting against the steps. As he laid there he thought of his home, his castle, and the stars he used to watch through his bedchamber window. It had been centuries since he last went home and he longed to go back there at least for a little while. The memory of his home soon enveloped him flooding his senses as his past was projected to him, his own illusioned reality.
Although he knew his back rested against the hard stone steps, he could still feel the silky sheets and pillows that littered his bed beneath him. The pain in his stomach faded away slowly to be replaced with the calmness he used to feel while watching the stars disappear with the light of day. The eerie silence of the gardens broken by the familiar sound of the ocean's waves crashing against the rocks below his room. The smell of the saltwater air that used to flow through his balcony doors taking the place of the lingering stench of the corpses burned within the palace. The scent so strong he could almost taste the salt in the air.
These were the only vivid memories of his home he had left and the only things he thought about to calm his emotions. Memories that were being used increasingly more often although they were being sustained for much less. As his illusions faded away to be replaced with the harsh reality of his condition, his will began to break.
...The more he fed, the more poison he had to worry about. Feeding less often was better, but not by much, it only prolonged the inevitable. He knew he couldn't keep surviving this way for much longer. His body was growing too weak from improper feeding to fend off the poison's onslaught, let alone heal itself as quickly as it used to. In his weakened state his emotions were also off balance, causing his emotionally based powers to be highly unstable. When he got too emotional he lost control of his powers which allowed them to release unexpectedly during periods of aggravation. The more emotional he got the more uncontrollable and stronger his powers became, the magnitude of power greatly enhanced when he was overwhelmed with a lot of emotions. Since his reawakening from the crypt his powers had started to evolve again, expanding to new limits. As his condition worsened they became more painful to use; Headaches, dizziness and nosebleeds accompanied their prolonged use. A use that was desperately needed to force them to finish expanding, allowing the growing pains to finally end...
The slits along his arms had healed themselves save for the area affected by the daggers presence where the blood still flowed, a steady drip followed by a hiss as it splashed onto the steps. He had fought so hard during the past few months, but now, it just seemed like a waste of time and effort to continue struggling to survive with everything falling apart around him, suffering through the pain of his miserable existence in this place.
...He hated it here, he hated surrounding himself with all the filth that this place held. He was forced into living in the slums among the cattle that he fed upon, degrading himself down to the poor and wretched souls that inhabited this place. He was above them and always would be. He hated making his meals malnourished tramps and disease infested harlots, he deserved so much better than that. He missed the aristocrats he used to fed from back home. Sometimes he missed it so much that he found himself desperately wanting to go out and treat himself to a more sophisticated meal. But he was left with trying to make do with what this town had to offer him and no matter how hard he tried, it wasn't the same. And it wasn't just their blood he craved, it was their way of life; the life that he was living back home. He was happy there, living among them, feeding upon them. He never should of came here, it was by far the worst decision he ever made. All his problems were centered around this place, this whole town, it seemed to be bathed in a sickness that tried to destroy everything it touched...
His gaze fell to his arms feeling sleep approaching as blood loss set in. His body felt weak, his arms heavy, his efforts to raise them failing as they remained in place on the steps; the daggers weighing them down. He didn't even have the strength to move anymore, let alone the will to even want to. There was no point in fighting anymore, he was too tired to fight. He just wanted to sleep now. He closed his eyes slowly, sinking back into his thoughts as the blood still burned within him.
...This sleep meant another blood induced coma, but why not, eight lifetimes was more than enough time to experience life. Each day felt like a constant battle to stay alive, he might as well just sleep, he was supposed to sleep for eternity anyways. Malox's attacks should of destroyed him completely, but instead it tore him in two leaving his body to decompose while his soul remained trapped. He should of stayed that way but Seyatte wouldn't let him, she resurrected him, pulling his soul out of purgatory for her own twisted pleasure. He had grown tired of his ever expanding powers wreaking havoc on his mind and his body now constantly struggling to survive what lessers of his kind would have crumbled to in an instant. He had been hurt and crossed far too many times to even want to care anymore. He might as well just give up now....
He could feel himself trying to drift to sleep but the pain kept him conscious. Eventually sleep would come though, he just had to wait long enough for it. He kept his eyes closed and waited for his chance to rest. A chance to finally rest from the afflictions of his mind and body was a rather welcoming thought. He only had two choices for peace; let himself fall asleep before Seyatte's blood eventually consumed him setting him on fire, or continue to bleed every few weeks. But the real question was, would she really let him stay dead this time or would she just keep resurrecting him until he finally submitted to her? A never ending torment that was far worse than death.